Let’s take a plane, or rather, let’s use Google Earth to fly over the Mercedes design centre in Sindelfingen. Why would we do that? Because it is located in the heart of the industrial site, and yet it is here that most of the world’s Mercedes cars are born. Do you need a dream setting to give birth to dream cars (and… trucks)?
If we stick to French manufacturers, Renault has closed its satellite studios in Barcelona and the Bastille in Paris, while at Peugeot, let us recall that the fabulous 205 which saved the group in 1983 was born in La Garenne-Colombes, opposite a cemetery?
Mercedes (above the factory and the design centre), like Volkswagen and Opel, has set up its “home” design centre in the very heart of a vast industrial complex, in this case the Sindelfingen industrial complex.
The Advanced Design Studio in Sindelfingen is the place where concept ideas and Mercedes design are born. The beauty of the place appears mainly from the sky with its seven petals, each covering a design studio on the first floor and a model production hall on the ground floor.
The designers are installed on a sort of mezzanine that allows them to see the progress of their projects on the lower level.
But the design studio in Sindelfingen is obviously not the only Mercedes studio on the planet. The manufacturer has set up advanced design studios in five global zones to absorb, analyse and creatively implement local style trends, acting as a “seismograph” for movements from areas such as the arts, cultural activities or architecture. »
According to Mercedes, designers can thus “translate their personal and cultural inspirations into visions of future mobility and let their ideas wander freely in the process: this is where show cars, research vehicles, product and design suggestions are born. This is where show cars, research vehicles, product and design suggestions are born. This is where the foundations of the brand’s design for the coming decades are decided. »
OTHER ADVANCED DESIGN CENTRES
In 2018, Mercedes-Benz opened a new advanced design centre in the French “Silicon Valley” on the Côte d’Azur. With this new centre, Mercedes is making a return to one of the brand’s birthplaces. It was in 1899 that Emil Jellinek, a businessman living in Nice, France, first took part in motor racing on the Côte d’Azur under the pseudonym “Monsieur Mercédès” (with the accents).
With its center located in the Sophia Antipolis Science and Technology Park, Mercedes “reinforces the creative and innovative potential of its global design network which, thanks to its specialized skills, follows trends around the world while allowing new ideas from different continents and cultures to feed into automotive design. Around 50 designers from all disciplines contribute to giving the brand and products unique and timeless shapes. “The centre is headed by Frenchman Alexandre Malval (below), former Citroën styling director.
UNITED STATES- Sunnyvale
The Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Sunnyvale is part of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc.
The location is ideal for close collaboration between experts from different specialist fields: not only is the proximity to the world-class universities of Stanford or Berkeley an advantage, but the many local high-tech companies create a lively dialogue and the teams are able to motivate each other and identify trends, which has enabled many ideas to lead to today’s show cars and production vehicles.
UNITED STATES- Carlsbad
The Advanced Design Studios are creative places in which designers can let their imagination run wild without immediately thinking about mass production. In Carlsbad, California, designers design the exteriors of show cars, vehicle studies and mobility concepts for the future. Californian life has an influence on the site, as does the proximity to Hollywood. A very special form of creativity that also leaves its mark on the design of production vehicles and opens up new perspectives.
Carlsbad’s designers focus on the vehicle exteriors of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, while Sunnyvale’s Advanced Studio designs the digital future and global interfaces. The creative threads all converge in Sindelfingen. The Advanced Design Studios” thus provide important impulses for the further development of the Mercedes philosophy. Their ideas help to give our vehicles a refined and sporty design without denying their origins and brand identity. »
The Advanced Design Studio in Beijing is an integral part of the research and development centre for China and all of Asia.
The studio’s mission is to recognize trends and to transpose the impulses from the Chinese automotive sector, which is very different from the expectations of the European market. But the flow of inspiration goes both ways, since the creative flow from China in turn enriches the design of Mercedes.
The Mercedes Design Centre in Sindelfingen (above) remains the heart of the manufacturer’s creativity, of course, but globalisation has brought other styling centres around the world. Whatever the manufacturer, this approach is necessary… At the very beginning of the 1980s, Robert Opron, then head of styling at Renault, wanted to set up one in the United States, but the financial situation of the Régie at the time did not allow it. We’re not rewriting history.